Now that my kids are grown, I am sometimes not as clued in to the rhythms of sports seasons. But tonight, as I watch The Natural, for the umteenth time, I’m reminded of the way my breath stops while watching a good game. The way I can be moved when the underdog hits that homerun or catches that fly ball. The edge-of-seat anticipation that mothers of pitchers feel.
I remember all the fun with my kids over the years quoting lines from their favorite baseball movies.
“You’re killing me, Smalls!” (The Sandlot)
“Is this heaven?
Iowa? I could have sworn this was heaven.
Is there a heaven?
Oh yeah. It’s the place where dreams come true.
[Ray looks around, seeing his wife playing with their daughter on the porch]
Maybe this is heaven.” (Field of Dreams)
In fact, just as The Natural was ending, my son texted me his favorite line. “Pick me out a winner, Bobby.” His timing was uncanny, for not 30 seconds after reading his text, I heard the same line from Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) on my TV. I smiled so big. That’s part of baseball’s magic. You can’t explain how it binds families. But it does. At least my family.
One of these days, I just may have to walk down the street to the Little League Park and see what’s up.